Vincent Antonio Rendoni
Dad’s face is all fucked up.
He got into the strawberries again.
Look at this piece of shit.
Skin the texture of raw brisket.
Eyelids like lips.
He’s allergic to one thing—
one thing only.
That makes him want it more.
Every morning they’re in season,
I see him at the kitchen table.
Not the couch. The table.
No television. No interference.
This is a singular pleasure.
He counts the berries one by one.
Blesses them with a dollop of sugar.
Swallows them whole, stems & all.
Calls to Christ.
Sweats & barks
like a cartoon dog
in front of a lady in red.
Bow wow. Woof woof.
That’s his shit. His spot hit.
Don’t you worry.
He knows where the line is.
Growing up, he ate everything out of a can.
Now, he could afford fresh fruit.
You telling him he can’t have it?
Never forget our God is a petty one. A taker.
A friend that counts your money.
We should all have time for joy, for strawberries.
While we have time.
Without having to suffer.
Vincent Antonio Rendoni is the author of A Grito Contest in the Afterlife, which was the winner of the 2022 Catamaran Poetry Prize for West Coast Poets. Previously, he was a 2022 Jack Straw Cultural Center Fellow and winner of the 2021 Blue Earth Review Flash Fiction Contest. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions multiple times. His work will appear / has appeared in The Sycamore Review, The Vestal Review, The Texas Review, The Westchester Review, Quarterly West, Another Chicago Magazine, Hippocampus, Sky Island Journal, and So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library.